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COSTA MESA — The Chargers are tied for the worst record in the AFC West. But in an NFL season with few dominant teams,
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, they can still make plenty of noise through the final eight weeks.
“I like our chances,” Coach Anthony Lynn said Monday,
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, after his team’s bye. “I’d like to be in a better position, but everything’s still in front of us. The whole division is still in front of us. We’re not out of this yet.”
Might the rest do the Chargers (3-5) some good? This season, 18 teams have played games after a weekend off — including Miami and Tampa Bay, who did not play in Week 1 due to Hurricane Irma. Eleven of them won their next game. How much the break helped those teams is unclear: Five post-bye victories this season have come against the 49ers and the Giants,
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, franchises that have combined for a 1-16 record so far this fall.
Curiously, the Giants pulled off their lone win in Denver, against a Broncos squad that looked rusty after its own bye week in early October.
“I’m not sure if that’s an advantage at all,” said Lynn, whose Chargers are due to visit Jacksonville this Sunday. “I’ve seen teams come off a bye and don’t play very well. I’ve seen teams that are playing stay in the same rhythm.”
Halfway through his debut campaign as a head coach, win three straight, Lynn has seen his team lose four straight, and pull within a few possessions of upsetting the defending champion Patriots. They’re staring up at the division, but the next few rungs of the ladder are within reach: Oakland is a half-game ahead with four wins, and Kansas City leads the way at 6-3.
With four of their losses coming by eight or fewer points, Lynn opted to cancel all practices during last week’s bye, giving players time to decompress and get away from football.
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, like defensive tackles Brandon Mebane and Damion Square, like cornerback Casey Hayward,
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,flew out of state to their offseason homes. Others, stayed in town. By Monday,
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, everyone had returned to the Chargers’ practice facility, rolling through what Lynn called a “bonus practice” — a session focused mostly on conditioning and individual work.
The rest of the week will be key for several players. Running back Melvin Gordon, has been slowed by knee, for example, shoulder and foot injuries this season. He has yet to miss a game, but Lynn said time away from the practice field has left the third-year pro “rusty” in pass protection. Because the Chargers run so many different offensive looks, tailbacks risk falling behind on playbook intricacies if they take too much time off.
“Veteran backs, you get a better feel for those guys.” Lynn said. “Young backs, they really need to get on the practice field.”
Lynn will also keep close watch on linebacker Denzel Perryman, who was placed on injured reserve following preseason ankle surgery. The former second-round pick is eligible to make his season debut against the Jaguars, but the Chargers will monitor how he looks practicing with the starting defense before officially placing him on the active roster.
“My bet is Denzel’s going to play,” Lynn said. “How much? Right now, we don’t know.”
Cardinals sign Tuerk
Max Tuerk is getting his next chance in Arizona.
The Cardinals signed the second-year pro off the Chargers’ practice squad, giving the interior lineman another shot at making his NFL career debut. The former third-round pick adds depth to the Arizona offense,
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, which recently lost backup center Daniel Munyer to a toe injury.
An all-conference center at USC, Tuerk has yet to appear in a regular-season NFL game. He sat out the first four games of this season due to a PED suspension,
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, and the Chargers waived him in early October. They re-signed him to their practice squad after losing starting left guard Matt Slauson to a season-ending biceps injury two weeks ago.
but wished the Santa Margarita Catholic alum well.,
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,Lynn had not spoken with Tuerk as of Monday afternoon
” Lynn said. “It’s a good move for him. Happy for him.”,
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,“I got the word last night
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